3. Pampering family pets
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 23 million American households have acquired a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. As people begin to travel again, they’re bringing their furry friends along, and hotels aren’t just accommodating the pets, some are rolling out the red carpet. Doggie butlers at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, for instance, will keep your pet company when you’re at dinner or a show. They’ll even text you photos of your pup for added peace of mind.
In Rhode Island, the Ocean House and its sister property, the Weekapaug Inn, expanded their pet amenities after seeing a 75 percent increase in pet stays from 2019 to 2021. They now treat four-legged guests to plush dog beds, collars, treats and a toy to take home. Their pet concierges can recommend pet-walking routes and coordinate local grooming appointments. (For more, read our story on pet-friendly destinations.)
4. Enhanced fitness facilities
Hotels are nixing windowless gyms and dusty treadmills to meet guest demand for upgraded workout rooms. As part of a just-completed $16 million revamp, the Marriott Kansas City Overland Park doubled the size of its 24-hour fitness center to 1,500 square feet and added floor-to-ceiling windows and four Peloton bikes, which are fast becoming hotel gym staples.
Mint House, a residential-style hotel brand with properties in 11 U.S. cities, put Mirror interactive home gyms in all its rooms. When turned off, the devices look like full-length mirrors. When turned on, they stream fitness classes.
And the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach in Florida has partnered with 1Team Fitness, a Florida-based fitness retreat company, to offer private trainer–led activities such as beach bootcamps, TRX System sessions and kickboxing.
5. Personalized, immersive educational experiences
“People want to be educated,” says Anne Scully, a partner with New York–based travel agency Embark Beyond. “And they want the experiences individualized.” Scully says artist-led painting classes, chef-led cooking classes and one-on-one sessions with storytellers who share cultural knowledge are popular new offerings at many properties.
An expanded cultural center focused on sharing the story of Nainoa Thompson, an esteemed Native Hawaiian navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is at the heart of a recently completed $80 million revamp of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach in Oahu.
At the O2 Beach Club & Spa, a new all-inclusive resort in Barbados, a local experiences ambassador can arrange educational classes that immerse guests in island life. Experiences might include learning how to prepare local recipes, a steel-pan drum lesson or a tutorial on how to play dominoes like a local.
With the pandemic driving interest in the outdoors, the Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina’s low country added a resident naturalist to its staff who educates guests on local flora and fauna through guided tours that focus on everything from foraging to bird-watching.